Debtors' Prisons: Life Inside America’s For-Profit Justice System
In this two part Vice Justice series examines the winners and losers of the for-profit criminal justice system. Imprisoning people for being poor has technically been illegal in this country for two hundred years, but it is still a reality. Municipalities with small, low-income populations and correspondingly low tax bases regularly pay their salaries, and pad their budgets by issuing “quality of life” and traffic fines to people for minor offenses—and sending them to jail if they can’t pay.
Vice examines the ways these local governments have turned broken-windows policing into profit, and meets the people who are fighting back.